Here is the stage and here are the players.
Thousands of people confined in a small space daily. Who will perform? Who will withdraw? Who will engage? What will surprise us? What will move us? The microcosm that is the Q train in New York City is particularly far reaching as it traverses its route from here to there.
Where comes from the inspiration for your work “The Q Train"and what is the concept behind it?
Performing the motions is only a routine if we ignore the heart of the display of a full range of humanity’s individual struggles to make the journey through this thing called life. This is my inspiration and challenge, born of necessity.
It’s all there…waiting for open eyes and hearts. Hope, despair, joy and violence all are part of our diet. And when you pay attention you can see the stages of anyone’s life that has brought them to this moment.
Regarding and starting to document the various moods and deeply personal events that presented themselves in this public place began to become a metaphor for a one world unity, refuting of all of the deeply disturbing racial and ethnic divisions currently broadcast worldwide. Thus the “Escapades Out On The Q Train” project was born…the title taking direct inspiration from the Bob Dylan song “Visions of Johanna”. It’s a very New York song in spirit and this is a very New York project too.
What is your photographic approach to your subjects? Do you approach your subjects spontaneously or ask them the permission before shooting?
I was a visual artist, mainly painting and drawing, and started using photography as a medium at 15 years old. My photographic work is always informed by my earlier art and training. Because of that I still have a fluid approach to my final photographs and have always freely disposed of classical photographic standards, when necessary, in the service of the final artwork.
My equipment is equally fluid...I’ve used an iPhone, LG G4, Samsung Galaxy and Sony Nex-7 on this project and somehow, when the stars align, they all blend. The apps that have provided everything that I like are Snapseed and Pixlr and if I edit with the computer the program is the DxO/Nik software plugin.
What is your idea about Instagram and mobile photography? Is there any advantage for people in this dualism?
Both smartphones and Instagram have awakened an exciting rebirth of interest in photography…always a positive in my mind. I believe that everyone is born with creative abilities and have started many people on their first steps to returning to that ability. So it’s amazing to find so many people discovering their creative side alive and thriving for the first time through smartphones.
The creative community on Instagram has been life-changing for me…to be able to “speak” to photographers, all over the world, and whose work I love, has been a constant revelation. And it has, and I hope for everyone, expanded my understanding and appreciation of other artists and cultures worldwide. Thank you 1415mobilephotographers.com for being such a significant part of that movement!
Pictures © Beth Cummins